The man who helped scuttle plans to "phase out" the use of Winlink 2000 by Army MARS is now in charge of the program. According to Army MARS, Stephen G. Klinefelter, 61, is a retired Signal Corps colonel who is now a civilian employee of the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, under which MARS operates. Late last year, the Pentagon announced that it would be phasing out MARS's use of the Winlink 2000 messaging system due to security concerns, despite the fact that it is widely used by many state and local emergency management agencies with which MARS would be expected to work during a disaster or major emergency. Klinefelter persuaded the army's Chief Information Officer, Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence that the resources of amateur radio far outweighed any risk from enemy hackers. She ordered an exemption for Army MARS.
Klinefelter assumed the position of Army MARS Chief upon the retirement of Jim Griffin, who held the spot since 2009. Klinefelter is remaining in his primary post and will be helped with MARS matters by a new MARS Program Officer, who had not been named as of press time.